Before I get into the actual premise of the game or start scanning in maps I drew freehand on notebook paper (sometimes I think I never stopped being in 8th grade) I'd like to introduce my cast of characters. So in no particular order, I present the miscreants and scofflaws that make up my personae dramatis.
William Donovan - Crown Prince of Avalon, heir to the House of Donovan, Duke of Someplace, Earl of the Other and a bunch of other titles as well. Will is the All Avalonian Boy; handsome, witty, athletic, rich and little embarassed by all the attention he gets. Will has some big shoes to fill at home...and it's honestly starting to make him a little nervous. Grandpa was known as King Donovan the Good by everybody but the nobles who rebelled against him. Dad is known as Donovan the Cadet due to the young age at which he showed spectacular battlefield prowess when he defeated the rebellious nobles that murdered his father. William's barely known as anything but the Crown Prince. He wants to make his father proud, hold up the proud heritage of his family and be as good a king as his father and grandfather. But he also wants to go someplace where he won't be treated like the Crown Prince all the time; someplace where he can get to know some people who'll be Will's friends, not the friends of the Prince. To further both goals he's been sent to the Academy to study in the College of Intrigue. On the inside, Will's a boiling turmoil of self doubt about himself and his abilities. You'd never know it to look at him; a cool and collected 14 year old, his trademark smoked glasses hide more than the glare of the sun.
Bink Q. Nimblefingers - A Halfling knave (do NOT call him a thief) who hails from the most hustling and bustling city his people have to offer, Halflington. Bink is an inveterate gambler, liar and...liberator of other people's stuff. He's lived to the ripe old age of 13 based pretty much on his amazingly affable nature and his ability to befriend nearly anyone even if he was caught with his hand in his pocket. Not much is known about Bink except that he arrived at the Academy with a letter from Dr. Adalricus Eitentho, the Dean of Shadows, and that he would be studying in the College of Shadows. Bink's got some secrets that he's keeping even from his new friends at the Academy, so this is probably all I should say about him right now.
Cronk Crushbone - An Ork (think Pict but with a face like this) Obeah, the youngest of six brothers and something of a disappointment to his family, Cronk was surprised to find he was an honored guest at the Academy. Cronk's dad is the war chieftain of Clan Crushbone which as risen to great prominence amongst the other Ork clans but that isn't why he's so special (after all, four of his brothers beat him to that punch at the Academy). Cronk has been accepted into the Apocalyptic College so that the more traditional wizards can learn about the shamanistic ways the Orks use magic. Cronk is a little put upon at home. His brothers pick on him because he's small and cerebral and will never make a good warrior. Although he wields considerable power as an Obeah, the majority of Obeahs are women and so he has spent more time at the feet of Mothers than he has wrestling and getting into trouble with the other boys. A lot of students at the Academy think Orks are just a step above wild pigs and Cronk is content to hide behind the literal mask that is his badge of office as well as the figurative mask of monosyllabic grunts and wild behavior. He's already been adopted by Bink which means he'll have more friends, and trouble, than he knows what to do with.
Hröthgar sone of Hrödegeir - For Hröthgar you need to picture Conan as a teenager and then try and picture that kid sitting in a classroom. Hröthgar is a true child of the Geats, a group of people who live in the frozen north and make their living as marauders and vikings. Hrödegeir has seen Avalon and Montaigne rise to prominence as true nations and wants that for his people. He's decided that a good first step is taking over some of the wilder country in the eastern reaches of Montaigne and a better second step is an economy fueled by something other than booty. Hrödegeir chose several of the most promising young Geats and sent them to the Academy to study in the Court of Intrigue in hopes that they'd come home and explain to the rest of their people how to be a nation. He also sent Hröthgar but that's mainly in hopes that the boy can learn a type of diplomacy that doesn't involve spitting and a two handed axe. Hrothgar is a mountain of a man and he's barely 13 winters. Lean and lanky, his height has so far outstripped his people's typical brawny physique. While not exactly stupid, Hrothgar is definitely more cunning than intelligent and about as simple as a sack of rocks. Hrothgar is a fish out of water that hasn't stopped flopping around long enough to figure out the environment's changed. For years he's been lauded as the next great chieftain of his people...right up until his dad decided to completely change the rules on him. He hasn't quite figured out what that means for his future, but getting sent to the Court of Intrigue is starting to make it obvious even to him.
Drem Bloodforge - A gifted dwarf and one of many sons born to the head of Clan Bloodforge, Drem hails from the Iron Heel Mountains just north of the Academy. Drem has a gift for engineering although, after blowing off half his face and causing several cave-ins, his father calls it "Gnome Shenanigans." And he only calls it that when he takes a break from swearing at the top of his lungs. On the suggestion of the Nigglewrench Head Mechanic, the leader of the Gnomish family that has been living and working with the Bloodforge for centuries, Drem is being sent to the Academy to hone his skills at forge and anvil. When it comes to his worldview, Drem can be as simple as Hröthgar, but Hröthgar would never figure out how to manufacture Gnomish Boom Powder and then use it to power a tunnel sled. Drem combines the bloody mindedness of every true Dwarf with a Gnome's willingness to strap himself to high powered machinery to stress test it before the ink on the blueprints has even dried.